Beef US August exports soar to new heights
August beef exports totaled 119,850 t, up 7% from a year ago, valued at $751.7 mill. – up 11% year-over-year and easily exceeding the previous record of $722.1 mill. reached in May 2018. For January through August, beef exports totaled 899,300 t, up 9% from a year ago, while value climbed 18% to $5.51 bn.
For the third consecutive month, beef muscle cut exports set a new volume record in August at 95,181 t (up 9% from a year ago), valued at $679.6 mill. (up 13%). Through August, muscle cut exports were 14% ahead of last year’s pace in volume (692,234 t) and 21% higher in value ($4.93 bn.).
August exports accounted for 13.2% of total beef production, up from 12.5% a year ago. For beef muscle cuts only, the percentage exported was 11.2%, up from 10.4% last year. For January through August, exports accounted for 13.5% of total beef production and 11.1% for muscle cuts – up from 12.8% and 10.1%, respectively, last year. Beef export value averaged $320.92 per head of fed slaughter in August, up 11% from a year ago. The January-August average was $318.66 per head, up 16%.
US beef currently faces retaliatory duties in two markets: China and Canada. China’s duty rate increased from 12 to 37% in July, with the higher rate applying to all eligible products. Canada’s 10% duty, which also took effect in July, applies to cooked/prepared beef products. All other US beef still enters Canada duty-free.
August beef exports to South Korea were up 42% from a year ago in volume (24,482 t) and set another new value record at $176.4 mill. (up 60%). This pushed January-August exports to 161,379 t, up 39% from a year ago, while export value reached $1.15 bn. – up 54% and just short of the 2017 full-year record of $1.22 bn. These results included a 30% increase in chilled beef exports to 35,683 t, valued at $343.7 mill. (up 41%). Through August, US beef accounted for 58% of Korea’s chilled imports. Under the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) that took effect in 2012, Korea’s duty rate on imports of US beef has declined from 40 to 21.3% and will be eliminated by 2026. These terms are preserved in the revised KORUS agreement signed 24 September.
Beef exports to leading market Japan climbed 8% from a year ago in August to 33,548 t, including a post-BSE record for muscle cuts (28,863 t). August export value was $209.3 mill., up 5% from a year ago and the highest since 1996. For January through August, exports to Japan were up 7% from a year ago in volume at 224,785 t, while value increased 11% to $1.42 bn. This included a slight increase in chilled beef to 100,952 t, valued at $807.2 mill. (up 9%). US beef accounted for nearly 50% of Japan’s chilled imports through August.
For January through August, other highlights for US beef exports include:
• Exports to Mexico were up 1% from a year ago in volume (158,496 t) and were 8% higher in value ($693.9 mill.). Mexico is the leading destination for US beef variety meat exports, which have trended lower in recent months to fall 8% below last year’s pace at 64,642 t. Variety meat value to Mexico remained steady with last year at $148.7 mill.
• While beef shipments to China/Hong Kong slowed in the summer months, January-August exports remained 6% higher than a year ago in volume (79,584 t) and 30% higher in value ($638.8 mill.). Exports to China, which reopened to US beef in June of last year, were 4,580 t valued at $39.8 mill.
• Beef exports to Taiwan soared 36% above last year’s pace in volume (38,923 t) and 40% higher in value ($359.9 mill.). Chilled exports to Taiwan were up 32% in volume (15,676 t) and 41% in value ($197.1 mill.), as the United States captured 74% of Taiwan’s chilled beef market – the highest share of any Asian destination.
• Strong growth in the Philippines pushed beef exports to the ASEAN region 11% ahead of last year’s pace in volume (29,261 t) and 23% higher in value ($160.7 mill.).
• Led by sharply higher exports to Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama and El Salvador, export volume to Central America increased 26% from a year ago to 9,519 t, while value climbed 22% to $51.6 mill.